The lens through which we see our health journey is so very important. It’s a foundational thing that often gets left out. And I find that oftentimes that is the missing piece whenever people feel really stuck or they’ve been doing all the things yet not really seeing the results that they want. I always come back to the mindset and how they approach their health.
My journey with extremes started 10-12 years ago. The first “extreme” thing that I did was Daniel fast. I continued it because I was feeling great and decided to just continue being vegan. Next, it was Whole30- I even wrote a cookbook with my sister on this type of eating! I was really invested in it because I thought that was the answer. People just need to cut things out from their diet that are not good and that was it.
And so that’s how I lived for a good 6 to 8 years. I was super strict and learned more about ingredients and different food, why we shouldn’t eat them, and all of those things. I was definitely in the mentality of “it’s better to be extreme about sticking to a certain diet or a certain lifestyle.” I fully believed that this was the answer. I’m just the type of person who when I set my mind to something, I just do it. Health extremes are really easy for me.
I think it was about 3 years ago that cutting out refined sugar was the last straw with my extreme mindset. And I went about two years eating zero refined sugar.
So I just remember missing out on a lot. And at the time I could do it and it wasn’t like a big deal, but I just remember thinking, well, I guess I’ll just never have ice cream at the beach with my kids again, because this is just my lifestyle now.
However, I definitely think there was some joy that was missing there that I didn’t really realize. It wasn’t until about a year ago that I started to learn that maybe all sugars aren’t bad.
I started to slowly learn that maybe some of the extreme mentality and actions that I had taken really weren’t serving me very well.
Maybe it actually wasn’t as good as I thought for my health because I was still having issues. And I was thinking, what else do I need to cut out? The other side of this is someone that can’t seem to stick with these health extremes and feel like they’re a failure. And so they don’t do anything.
And I want to use an analogy that one of my good friends used recently.. She talked about the two ways to approach your health habits. Light switch and dimmer switch.
She just talks about how “just because you can’t do something perfectly doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do it at all.” and even the imperfect action still counts.
I feel that this is a hundred percent spot on what I see with a lot of clients. I would say, you usually fall into one of the two camps. You’re either more like me and are really good at extremes and just take action even though it’s not perfect.. Or you’re “if I can’t do it 100% I’m not going to do it at all;”.
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I think these extremes can be really damaging to the way that we approach health. And I think ultimately we can lose out on a lot of the joy that God has for us- joy in the journey.
What I find is that the more we feel like we need to be in an extreme to do anything for our health, that’s really where these can be really damaging and it can really deter someone from finding what works best for them.
Creating healthy habits that last and really having joy through the whole process is the goal. Not wanting to be happy with your body when it looks smaller or whenever you get rid of X, Y, or Z, symptoms.
I would just encourage you to have a lot more grace for yourself and realize that yes, our actions do matter. However, are they stealing your joy?
God wants joy for us every day and he wants us o really lean on him for the change that we want to see and not only feel like it’s up to us. He has helped me to help others have grace for themselves and to really celebrate the small things. That’s one of my values and goals, I call it just one degree. (You can read more about it on my about page)
Celebrate small changes and wins because that’s what really lasts!
I want you to get to a place where you have food freedom and you have freedom in your health, that you don’t feel so chained to sticking to all of your regimen or routine.
I would love to have more conversations with you about this! Email me at [email protected] to continue the conversation:)